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Archive for Wednesday, June 6, 2001

Handcuffs don’t deter police car hijacker

June 6, 2001

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— A suspected car thief handcuffed in the back seat of a Wichita Police car apparently squeezed through a divider separating him from the front seat and stole the police cruiser.

The suspect led police Monday on back-to-back car chases through east Wichita, at one point driving through front yards and even killing a deer that darted into his path, police said.

Authorities eventually set spikes across a road to blow out the patrol car's tires and took the man into custody.

"He was handcuffed behind his back, but he somehow worked his hands around to the front of his body," said police spokeswoman Janet Johnson. "And I don't know how he fit through that opening. It must have been a tight fit."

The first chase started when a patrol car began pursuing a car that had been reported stolen. It was during that chase that he killed a deer that darted into his path, police said.

The driver eventually lost control of his vehicle. Officers handcuffed him and put him in the back seat of the patrol car.

While the officer was outside the car talking to a supervisor, the slimly-built man apparently found a way to get his hands around front to the front of his body.

He then wriggled through a 12-by-12 inch window in the Plexiglas divider separating the front and back seats.

"I don't know that we've ever had someone even try to get through there," Johnson said.

The man again led police through east Wichita neighborhoods. When he drove onto a dead end street, he passed pursuing officers by driving on front lawns, Johnson said.

When he was stopped, the man was taken directly to the police station.

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